Council leaders stop amendments to Five Towns Park development to protect town centres

Castleford Five Towns Park.
Castleford Five Towns Park.

Council leaders have stepped in to prevent alterations being made to the Five Towns Park development.

Developer Lateral Property Group was granted planning permission for the £135m complex, including a stadium, shops and restaurants, at Glass Houghton last February.

It later applied to vary the application and replace a food store with non-food retail space as well as creating more smaller shopping units.

But councillors and people living in Pontefract and Castleford raised concerns that the amendment could lead to smaller retailers abandoning the town centres in favour of the new development.

Deputy council leader Denise Jeffery said: “Although the Five Towns development has our full backing we are determined to represent our town centre businesses and protect their interests.

“We met with Lateral a few weeks ago and made it very clear that the new proposals could have a negative impact on the towns and that we could not currently support them.”

Lateral has now withdrawn the amended proposal.

Council leader Coun Peter Box said: “The developers must find the right balance between providing the Five Towns Park retail offer whilst minimising the impact on our town centres.”

A spokesperson for Lateral Property Group said: “We have listened to concerns raised by a number of local residents and traders and have decided to withdraw the various proposed changes.

“It has always been our intention to ensure that the Five Towns Park development will benefit all residents of the five towns.

“We will consider how we can provide greater reassurance and security to both Pontefract and Castleford Town centres through further additional measures. We want to ensure the roles of both town centres are not undermined by the Five Towns Park development.”

l February 2015 - Lateral Property Group was granted planning permission for the £135m Five Towns Park scheme by Wakefield Council.

The plans include a new 10,000 capacity stadium for Castleford Tigers as well as a 50-acre country park, shops and restaurants and a petrol station.

l December 2015 - The developer submitted an application to vary conditions of the development.

l January 2016 - Marks & Spencer, Next and Primark signed up to units at the development.

l February 2016 - The developer withdrew the amended application after Coun Box and Coun Jeffery raised concerns.

l Now - The developer is reviewing plans for the retail part of the site.